Dublin Castle

This castle first built in Norman times and its site off Dame Street in the heart of the city of Dublin have played many a role in Ireland’s colourful history. It is here that the very first Viking longphort was built in 841 when the raiders first settled in Ireland. As Dame Street did not exist at the time and was part of the Liffey estuary where the river Poddle joined the Liffey, the site of the castle would have been a perfect mooring point for the raiders longships. 

The first castle built here was begun in the time of King John, in 1204 by Fitzhenry. It was completed by 1230 and used to defend the city, administer justice and store records and treasure. It was of typical Norman design with a keep, outer walls and four circular towers (rounded walls were harder to breach). Initially the enclosed buildings and structures would have been wooden and later replaced by stone and thatched structures. Parts of the walls exist today and can be viewed by the public.

Dublin Castle survived until 1673 when it was destroyed by fire. Rebuilt in the 18th century it became the centre of British administrative rule until 1922. Since it is used for state events and ceremonies and is open to the public as a tourist attraction.

In 1814 the Chapel Royal was built here by Francis Johnston as the first Church of Ireland for the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Built using a timber frame to reduce weight as it sat in the site of the ancient moat, the exterior was clad in limestone and decorated with over 90 heads of important people in Irish history, including St. Patrick and Brian Boru, designed and carved by Edward and John Smyth.